VSTE for DBPros announced today!!!!

I am thrilled to make this post today! Today Microsoft has announced the existence of Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals ( see the press release here )! What’s this? It is the fourth role in the Visual Studio Team Suite ( check here for details about VSTS ), designed to “round out” and broaden the reach of the system. So, not only are developers, architects, and testers, represented in the suite, but now the database professional as well!

So who am I? I’m responsible for the team building this bad boy. I will be posting frequently to keep you as up to date on the progress of the product as we march towards release, but also give you as much information about the product itself along the way. Many of the folks on the product team are also blogging about the product. ( stay tuned for information about a team blog site! ) This team has been really hustling to get the CTP bits ready for the upcoming TechEd conference in Boston this June. We’ll be handing out the bits there, as well as making them available for download via the web.

So what’s the product about?

Thanks for askin’! J There are a couple of key themes that have driven this product from inception to the bits almost available. I’ll sum them up:

1) Manage database schema changes

2) Establish and support a Data Development Lifecycle ( DDLC )

3) Integrate the DDLC into the rest of the Software Application Lifecycle ( SDLC )

Great, so what does that mean? Let me fill in some details about each of those topics:

1) Manage database schema changes. This means the product is allowing you to:

  • Create an offline store for your database meta data or schema ( whatever makes you more comfortable! ) by importing the schema of your production database(s).

  • Once the offline, or “sandbox”, has been established, you can now version control that meta data into Team Foundation Server or any MSCCI compliant source control provider ( all the big ones support MSCCI ). You can now leverage the features of your version control system, such as Team Foundation Server’s very cool “Shelf Set” functionality, to collaborate with the rest of your team _before_ attempting to deploy the final changes.

2) Establish and support a DDLC

  • This is a process whereby the DB Pro can implement, test, build, and deploy a particular change in a way that mitigates the risks inherent in database meta data changes. This risk is mitigated by establishing direct support for database unit testing ( tying into existing VSTS test infrastructure ), functionality to create and generate data that looks as close to production as possible, and provide automation at the data tier layer to help manage changes, such as renaming a table column, that was painful to do before. That’s right, database Refactoring has arrived!!! ( more on this in a later post )

  • Provide direct support for Build and Deploy of a database right within Visual Studio!

3) Integrate the DDLC into the rest of the Software Application Lifecycle ( SDLC )

  • By tightly integrating the product into the rest of VSTS the application development team, and the folks that are responsible for building the database, now have a common platform from which they can collaborate.
  • Work items can be shared between teammates, database unit tests can be executed right along with the rest of the application level unit tests, and MSBuild tasks associated with the database projects new in this edition can be integrated into the rest of your application build infrastructure!

If you’ve made it this far, fantastic, and well done! Here’s our MSDN site where you can get more info: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/teamsystem/products/dbpro/default.aspx

I’ll be posting screen shots in my next post. Stay tuned!!!!

Cameron Skinner
Product Unit Manager
Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals